On a boat, that’s how. With my good friends Lyle Lovett, Emmylou Harris, John Hiatt, Patty Griffin, Buddy Miller, Shawn Colvin, Shawn Mullins, Edwin McCain, Brandy Carlile, The Duhks and I’m just getting started. Miss Juli and I heard so much good music … check it out for yourself at YouTube. Amazing.
The highlights were too numerous to mention, but for my money the most incredible showing came from Buddy Miller. His hour-long nightclub set left me in tears — such a soulful performance. And he sat in with dang near everybody.
There were loads of guitars and impromptu jams sprung up at a respectable pace. Plus, there was a series of juried Open Mics. I participated in the first open mic with my new pal David Hawkins, who dug in with his mad mandolin chops. “I’ll cover Dennis’ parts as closely as I can,” he told me, “but I won’t shave my head.” Fair enough. We got ‘em laughing with a foot-stomping rendition of Mona Rigby’s Houseboat. We didn’t win (and therefore didn’t get the opportunity to play a 45-minute show in the gorgeous Atrium Lounge), because a Canadian fella named Jacob Moon cracked open a crate of awesome — great song, great voice, great player — but we hear through the grapevine that the boys from Kansas were tough competition.
The folks who put the cruise together, Sixthman, found so much interest in the jams and open mics that they threw together an afternoon signup stage in the casino (that’s right, a real-live casino with noisy slot machines and blackjack tables and the works). David and I played Raise a Glass to a very appreciative crowd. That was the greatest part of the shows — the whole event was populated by folks who really love music, and who really came to listen. I gave away nearly 50 Back Porch Buddha CDs, and I know those tunes will fall on eager ears.
A week on the ocean, surrounded by great music and great people (meet our next-door bunkies Jann Browne and Matt Barnes). A once-in-a-lifetime deal, I suppose.
(A footnote: As soon as we got home, both Miss Juli and I became horribly, miserably afflicted with the flu. We each missed a week of work, and are just now becoming vaguely human.)